When we considered opening a Baby Toy Shop section of our website, we made a promise to ourselves that we'd only do it if we could find soft toys that are adorably unique and unusual; and where possible organic, fairtrade and ethical.
And we've done it! :)
All major retailers and online marketplaces stock the typical baby toys 'made in China' and they're obviously very popular with lots of families, but we cannot possibly compete with those big toy retailers, and we also can't get excited about products we don't really have a passion for!
We are really proud of our ethical, fairtrade and organic baby toy collection, and it's been really interesting discovering the hard work these small businesses go through to ensure their ethical ambitions can be reached.
Our own little mouse (baby daughter) loves them too and she's the best possible product tester we know! (most of the toys end up in her mouth at some point and knowing the products are organic is great piece of mind).
Our favourite ethical soft toy manufacturers
When buying Albetta baby toys you get that extra warm feeling knowing that Albetta is a member of SEDEX (the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange) and follow the practices of the Ethical Trading Initiative. They're also proud to support local charities and social enterprises.
Their ethical baby toys include unique twists on tradition toys. Think unicorns, bears, dogs, lambs, and bunnies, but with a contemporary look.
Pebble's ethical baby toys are made in Bangladesh by a workers co-operative which provides fairly paid employment to women in rural locations. Pebble organic baby toys are made in rural Bangladesh. Taking jobs out of Dhaka means that workers do not have to leave their homes and families to find work. Living in rural Bangladesh is very hard but it is a beautiful country and conditions in the country are much better than those in the sweat shops of Dhaka.
Pebble Toys are most famous for their crochet organic baby toys, especially their crochet octopus and turtle. Fairtrade, organic, handmade and suitable from birth. Basically all the best things!
Under The Nile baby toys are unique, imaginative and organic, inside and out. They're committed to providing the highest quality organic cotton baby products in a sustainable and socially responsible manner.
Their organic cotton is grown on a biodynamic farm without the use of pesticides or insecticides. They do not use any chemical finishes on their fabrics, only natural starches. They whiten their fabric using an oxygen-based whitening process. their dyes are made with metal-free colors, containing no harmful chemicals such as AZO agents. This translates into softer, cleaner clothing that is more gentle on babies’ skin than conventional cotton. Under the Nile’s clothing is made in Egypt at a Certified Fair Trade Facility. Under The Nile's certifications include:
- FSC Certification
- Gold Seal of Authentic Egyptian Cotton
- NOP Certificate
- Sekem’s FLO Fair Trade Certificate
- Stuff Toy Certificates for MA, OH, PA
- TSAA Certificate
- OKOTEX Certificate
- Declaration of Conformity
Best Years have been specialising in making organic baby toys for over 10 years and claim to be the first people to introduce knitted dinosaurs to the world! Having young children ourselves the appeal of knitted and crochet toys was instant as it offered a great alternative to the ubiquitous soft toys found all over the high street.
They are an ethical company and ethical sourcing is at the core of all their products so they found a great factory to make their first knitted toys for them, and now have hundreds, still working with the same people they met all those years ago.
Best Years has now been accepted by BAFTS (British Association of Fair Trade Shops).
Noodoll toys aren't fairtrade or organic, but they are designed and hand finished in London and can now be found in reputable stores such as the Conran Shop, Foyles, Centre Pombidou, Bonton, and Tate Modern, and online in the Little Mouse Toy Shop!
Why buy Fairtrade baby toys?
Fairtrade baby toys are about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives. Lots of great reasons to buy fairtrade baby toys!
Why buy organic baby toys?
Why buy organic baby toys? Organic means working with nature, not against it. It means higher levels of animal welfare, lower levels of pesticides, no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers and more environmentally sustainable management of the land and natural environment - this means more wildlife! Whatever you’re buying – from cotton buds to carrots – when you choose organic food, drink or beauty and textiles, you choose products that promote a better world. Lots of great reasons to buy organic baby toys!